(CMC) – A High Court judge will on June 21 sentence Sherman Webb, who pleaded guilty to the murder of a 23-year-old University of the West Indies (UWI) student from Barbados more than 10 years ago.
Justice Wynante Adrien-Roberts has ordered a social inquiry report and a psychiatric report on or before June 1, whilst the state and defence lawyers are to file their submissions on or before June 15.
In 2012, Webb was convicted for the murder of Corey Rohan Poleon, but the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) ordered a retrial.
When he appeared in court on Tuesday, Webb, who has been in custody for the past 10 years, pleaded guilty to killing his “Bajan friend”, who had visited Dominica to meet him after they met on the Internet.
During the High Court sitting, the prosecution withdrew its earlier indictment of manslaughter and the charge was reread to Webb.
The court was told that between August 31, 2009 and March 18, 2010 at Elmshall on the outskirts of the capital, Webb killed the 23- year-old UWI student.
Poleon’s family had reported him missing following his failure to return home in Barbados. His remains were later found beneath the floorboards of a small wooden house in Elmshall, where Webb had allegedly taken Poleon and “chopped him on both sides of his neck”.
Webb had always maintained his innocence claiming that Poleon came to visit him in August 2009 to conduct an “occult ceremony which involved the summoning of a demon”, which would allow Poleon to receive his own guardian spirit.
He told the court during his 2012 trial that Poleon had returned to Dominica after an initial visit and two days after his arrival, they went up to a small house in Elmshall to conduct the ceremony.
Webb said that during the ceremony, the Barbadian became frightened which caused him to “step out of the circle” causing a demon to possess him.
He told the court that he chopped Poleon on the neck with a cutlass to force the demon to leave his body and later buried him under the wooden house where they had conducted the ritual after “banishing the spirits”.
“I do not agree that I killed Corey. He was a friend of mine,” the accused man said.
Samples of the remains unearthed by the police were sent to Jamaica and Barbados for testing and were later confirmed to be those of Poleon.
On June 22, 2012, after an eight day trial, a nine member jury handed down a guilty verdict in the matter and on July 20, 2012, Justice Bernie Stephenson Brooks sentenced Webb to life in prison.
But Webb appealed the sentence in 2016, listing four grounds including that the trial judge misdirected when she failed to explain to the jury an accident in law; failed to properly address the jury on the law governing self-defence; and that that she was biased and prejudiced.
The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court quashed Web’s conviction and ordered a retrial.